7 in 10 students would like universities to review their digital strategy

Seven in 10 students across nine markets globally would recommend that their university reviews and changes its digital strategy related to student administration.

Around one-third of students also feel their administration systems do not meet their expectations, making them less likely to recommend the institution.

These are among the findings of a survey conducted by DJS Research and released by Unit4  in March and April 2016 to  measure students’ perceptions of their universities’ current digital offer for administration.

Respondents include more than 2,000 full time and part time students studying at university level in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Benelux, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

Interestingly, student responses were fairly consistent across undergraduates and postgraduates and from country to country.   Globally, 44 percent said that student admin is managed digitally ‘a little or not at all’.

In Singapore, 55 percent felt that admin is so complex that it means they spend less time studying. Almost half of the local students (44 percent) currently have three or more different log-ins for digital services. Sixty-five percent of the students also said they would expect the administration to be easier to manage, given the fees they pay.

The research also found that a lack of modern, digital solutions for student administration has a negative impact on the student’s perception of the university.

Globally, 41 percent said they would have a better experience if they could interact more digitally. Over 50 percent in Singapore would be more likely to recommend their university if the digital interaction was better, while more than a quarter (28 percent) of respondents think less of their university because their systems are poor.

A third of students feel there is too much paperwork and get frustrated with the amount and complexity of admin. Students are currently least satisfied with managing financial aid, course transfers and communicating with faculty advisors. Managing academic progress and coursework, paying tuition and other institutional fees and admissions are also areas for improvement in real innovation for more than a decade. Most of the existing systems used are on average more than 13 years old,” said Jack van der Velde, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Unit4.

When asked what experience they would like to have, 87 percent of the students surveyed said they would like a single application accessible from any device to manage their entire university life. More than 8 out of 10 would be more satisfied if their university implemented a single digital system to manage all of their administration.

Similarly, 87 percent would find it useful to have an app that shows their current progress in their degree, a core component of helping students stay on track.